Rifle Slings

Rifle slings are not really a necessity when hunting in the African bush. However, they are useful on occasions when you are walking very long distances and carrying your rifle without a sling may overtire your arms. If you do need to shoot with tired arm muscles, it may cause shaking when it comes to aiming.

  • The way you sling your rifle depends on whether you have an intention of shooting anything at the time and how adept you are at getting from the carry position and into the firing position. Practice makes perfect, as always.
  • A carrying strap or sling can be used to carry the rifle over either shoulder, muzzle up or muzzle down. This frees the hunter's hands for using binoculars, climbing, crawling, holding branches out of the way etc.
  • In the rain it is handy to sling the rifle muzzle down over the off shoulder. This keeps the rifle as dry as possible, particularly the inside of the barrel. Another advantage of this barrel down position is that the rifle may be brought up to shooting position quickly.
  • Rifles with very long barrels should not be carried muzzle down if there is danger of pushing the muzzle into the ground and plugging the barrel. This is particularly worth noting when walking down hill.
  • A properly used sling can be an aid to shooting steadiness. Read the African Hunter Magazine article 'Taking A Rest' by Ganyana.

Rifle Slings When Hunting Dangerous Game

  • Preferably do not use a rifle sling at all - detach it and keep it in your pocket.
  • If you have to shoot quickly and accurately under pressure, you can easily become tangled up in the strap and lose time trying to detach your quick detachable swivels when all your fingers have turned into thumbs.
  • Never use a rifle sling in a wounded dangerous game follow-up.

Choosing A Rifle Sling

Rifle slings usually come in widths from 1 inch to 2 inches and are adjustable for length. The heavier the rifle, the wider the sling should be for comfort. They are usually made of leather, synthetic webbing material such as nylon or closely-woven canvas.

If you buy a new leather rifle sling, break it in like your hunting boots, so it is comfortable before arriving on safari.

The Boonie Packer Safari Sling

This patented nylon Safari Sling allows you to carry your firearm in three different positions: in front of your body, across your back, or over your shoulder, so you should tire less on a long day's hunt. The 2" wide strap enhances comfort and hands-free carry. The sling allows you to shoot directly from the carry position.

If you want to try out the Safari Sling, it is not available on Amazon, but can be found at outlets such as Midway USA

Fitting & Using A Safari Sling

Rifle Slings Recommended Reading

The Art Of The Rifle

The Art Of The Rifle by Jeff Cooper (1997). Riflecraft has been completely ignored since World War II, says Jeff Cooper, America's foremost rifle instructor. To remedy this situation, he took it upon himself to set down the fine art of the rifle before it was lost forever. In his no-holds-barred style, Cooper instructs you in everything you need to know about shooting the rifle, while entertaining you with tales of marksmanship, combat and big-game hunting. Includes his thoughts on the sling and its use in the field.

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Page Updated: Mar 2024

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